It was X-citing, it was X-ellent

The X-Files put Vancouver on the map. Today we take a look at the impact it had on the city and what's next as the cast heads off to fight the future in Los Angeles

By Mike Roberts
Staff Reporter
The Province
March 31, 1998

Mulder and Scully are trading in their raincoats for Ray Bans at the end of this season, heading to the City of Angels after six years in Vancouver.

The move comes as neither a surprise nor a threat to B.C.'s bustin'-at-the-seams film and television industry -- an industry that issued 25,000 paycheques last year and hires some 8,500 full-timers.

The X-Files alone brought in an estimated $35 million slice of the $630 million industry pie last year.

But enough about the numbers.

"I don't want to minimize the impact of The X-Files, it's clearly been a huge positive economic and publicity driving force," says the B.C. Film Commission's Peter Mitchell. "But for the last five years we've been at capacity -- we've had more shows trying to come to Vancouver than we've had crews."

Mitchell says no one's going to lose their jobs as a result of The X-Files bail, they'll simply be absorbed into a fast-rising labor pool.

The X-Files was one of 20 productions being shot in Vancouver last year -- this year there are 26 (including Chris Carter's Millennium and three FOX TV pilots).

"There is literally a line-up of productions waiting for the studio space," says talent agent Russ Mortensen of Pacific Artists Management. "In a few weeks, once it's gone, people will have forgotten it was even here."

Somewhat of an exaggeration. The X-Files gave Vancouver a certain cachet, put it on the map. Industry types all agree the show's departure is an emotional loss, if not an economic one.

"It's been wonderful for us to have The X-Files here," says Lucas Talent's Richard Lucas. "But things come, they go. I'm sure Gillian and David came up here thinking they were going to do this wacky little pilot and that would be the end of it. And five years later..."

But what are X-bound local actors to do now the file has been closed on the popular TV series?

"Unless they're major names already, it's going to eliminate the chance of anybody else getting on The X-Files," says Mortensen. "Once they're in L.A. it's done for Canadians unless you're important enough to bring down there."

Vancouver actor William Davis (Cancer Man) is one of those important-enough people.

"Professionally it's a gain for me, personally it's an inconvenience," says Davis.

"I'm probably the only person who doesn't care what the decision is. There's a very positive side for me -- it gets me down to L.A. more, gets me more connected to the whole production centre."

Williams says he doesn't need a Green Card to work in the States, he was just down there on a work visa for The X-Files movie. Other Vancouverites who play major-minor roles on the show will also find the doors open.

"FOX will be facilitating their work status and permits to work in Los Angeles," says Lucas, who manages The Lone Gunmen, William Davis and newcomer Chris Owens. "There should be no problem, they're established characters on a hit show."

The question that now remains is how The X-Files' producers will emulate the damp, grey gloom of Vancouver that has become the show's trademark.

"Chris (Carter) said something to indicate they may experiment with oppressive heat as a scary atmosphere," says Davis.

Adds the B.C. Film Commission's Peter Mitchell: "They've got some really interesting technical challenges -- are they going to write this into the story, some kind of move to L.A.? Or are they going to try and fake it, which will be tough and expensive in L.A.."

This article appears courtesy of The Province